How Does Mold Affect Your Health?
At Branch Environmental, we love helping our customers solve problems. Many times our customers come to us because of already existing health problems. Mold can make you very sick, but most people don’t realize how insidious it can be. Mold can cause health problems ranging from severe allergic reactions to mental health problems. Come learn more about how mold can affect your health, and how to improve your health through mold remediation.
How and why does mold grow?
Did you know that mold can grow just about anywhere? Mold needs three major things to grow: food, moisture, and oxygen. There is only one of those three things it is possible to limit inside your home. You have to breathe, so oxygen is out. Your home is built of all kinds of material that mold likes to eat such as drywall, carpets, wood, etc. So the only one of the three things you could limit is moisture. Preventing leaks throughout your home is one of the best ways to prevent mold damage. To learn more check out our posts: Top 6 Types of Water Damage and How to Avoid Them, and Home of 10,000 Leaks: Why Water Damage Leads To Mold.
Why is mold a health problem?
Mold is an insidious, invisible predator in your home. It hides in places no one ever thinks to look like under cabinets, in crawl spaces, and behind furniture. People may spend weeks, months, and even years fighting illness, and never know what they are really fighting…mold. Many of our customers find us after a recommendation from their doctor, that they may in fact have a mold problem, and not just an illness.
Mold is most often associated with allergies, but mold is much more menacing than people know. While all molds have the potential to cause irritation and allergy symptoms, molds can also cause much more dangerous health problems including: fungal poisoning and mental health problems. You can learn more about mycotoxin poisoning in our article: When Mold Is Worse Than Allergies. To learn more about how mold can affect mental health check out our articles: Mold and Mycotoxins: Effects on the Brain and Nervous System in Adults and Effects of Mold on Children’s Health.
Case Study – Local Homeowner with Health Issues Calls Branch for Help
To give you a specific example of how mold can affect your health, this article describes a recent call we received from one of our real customers. Let’s call him Mr. Smith. (A common name, but not our customer’s name! Names have been changed to protect customer identity.) Mr. Smith had been having some adverse health issues, and his doctor suggested he have his home checked for mold. Mr. Smith called us, and we came out to inspect the property.
The following information comes directly from the Mold and Indoor Air Quality Inspection Report we created for Mr. Smith. We treat each mold inspection as an investigation, and leave no stone unturned! Our customers receive an in depth report including: photographs, descriptions of problem areas, and our recommendations to fix any problems we find. If there are no problems, we report that as well! Sometimes, there are only minor problems to fix, and we may recommend the homeowner can fix the problem themselves. You can check out our A Simple Guide To Cleaning Mold to learn how to clean up areas of mold that are less than 10 square feet.
The first thing our inspector observed upon entering the home was an excessive amount of dust. The amount of dust observed on the drapes, ceilings, carpet and other areas of the home was enough to cause respiratory distress, especially for allergy sufferers.
Digging Deeper – Mold Issues
Our inspector continued the investigation and found mold in several locations in the home. In the hallways and the bathroom, mold was found on the ceilings. So, our inspector took a look in the attic.
When the roof had been replaced with a standing seam metal roof, the roofers covered the attic vent holes from the previous roof. Commonly, standing seam metal roofs are vented through the ridge of the roof. The new roof had not been vented at all, and the attic was retaining moisture. That moisture was causing the mold to grow in the attic and on the drywall of the ceilings.
The home had several plumbing leaks that had been in place for some time. All of the locations with leaks had mold growing on the drywall in those areas. The hall bathroom had a hole in the wall behind the shower allowing air from the crawlspace to enter the home. According to our customer, a leak in the laundry room had been there for several years. The mold was very heavy in that area and considered a health hazard.
HVAC and Crawl Space Issues
Ground moisture and condensation from the HVAC ductwork created a very humid environment in the crawlspace. The excess moisture has resulted in significant mold growth on the wooden floor framing components, such as the subflooring and floor joists. In addition, there was rot damage from previous leaks. The mold from the crawlspace was entering the home by drafting upward through cracks in the framing and through pipe, wire, and ductwork penetrations.
On a metal roof like Mr. Smith’s, it is common that the attic is vented through the ridge of the roof. For this to happen, we recommended that the decking of the roof should be cut, and removed approximately 2 inches down on each side of the ridge to achieve adequate ventilation. Mr. Smith should have a screen wire installed over the hole that is cut will help prevent rodents (squirrels, bats, etc) and insects from entering the attic in this area. The roof also had a low slope, which can be susceptible to blowing rain entering under the ridge cap. Installing a 14 inch or wider ridge cap to help prevent this from occurring was also recommended.
Ceilings in the hallway and bathroom (and insulation above these areas), where the greatest concentration of mold was found, needed to be removed and replaced. A new exhaust fan was recommended for the master bathroom to keep moisture levels low and prevent mold from reoccurring.
We of course recommended that all the leaks be fixed. Tiny leaks over a long period of time are like giving mold a gold stamped invitation to move in! Checking all plumbing fixtures for leaks throughout your entire home at least twice (or preferably 4 times per year) is important to prevent mold growth. To learn more see our posts: Home of 10,000 Leaks: Why Water Damage Leads To Mold and Top 6 Types of Water Damage and How to Avoid Them.
Because of the damage from water and mold, we recommended that the drywall in all the areas that had mold be removed and replaced. Carpets throughout the home as well as several areas of flooring and subflooring needed to be removed and replaced. Areas where flooring would not be replaced in the crawlspace needed to be cleaned.
HVAC and Crawl Space Issues
To fix the crawl space issues, we recommended that the wire pipe and ductwork penetrations be sealed to prevent air, insects, and rodents from entering the home. HVAC duct boots should be insulated to encapsulate all exposed metal and reduce condensation. The crawlspace should have a full coverage vapor barrier installed, and the floor framing components should be cleaned to remove the mold growth.
Back to the issue of extreme dustiness, all rooms should be vacuumed with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and damp wiped for dust. The dust was an issue, especially for folks with allergies, but as you can see it was not a major issue compared to the other areas we found that needed attention!
Your Home is Your Castle
You’ve heard the expression ‘my home is my castle.’ Well, we believe that your castle, your refuge, your safe haven, shouldn’t make you sick! We were glad we could find the problems for this customer and help him solve them. He is much healthier and happier now that his home is mold free!
We’re Here When You Need Us
Nothing is more important than your health, which is why we often receive mold removal or remediation calls from families looking for relief. We understand that you are doing everything you can to protect your family, which is why we take our professionalism extremely seriously. We believe that no one should live or work in a building that makes them sick.
Call Branch Environmental. We’re experts at mold removal and indoor air quality. We can determine and remediate the underlying causes of poor indoor air quality from hidden mold sources to major contaminants. We want you to feel healthy and breathe easy in your home. We can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good.
Branch Environmental – Because nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick.
For more information please go to:
- Top 8 Reasons Why Clean Air Is More Important Than Ever – Branch Environmental
- Home of 10,000 Leaks: Why Water Damage Leads To Mold – Branch Environmental
- Where Does Mold Hide? – Branch Environmental
- Home Mold Remediation – Branch Environmental
- Top 6 Types of Water Damage and How to Avoid Them – Branch Environmental
- When Mold Is Worse Than Allergies – Branch Environmental
- 5 Expectations about Mold vs. Eye-Opening Reality – Branch Environmental
- Effects of Mold on Children’s Health – Branch Environmental
- Mold and Mycotoxins: Effects on the Brain and Nervous System in Adults – Branch Environmental
- How Your Home Can Affect Your Allergies – Branch Environmental
- Asthma and Mold – Branch Environmental
- Dust Mites – Branch Environmental
- A Simple Guide To Cleaning Mold – Branch Environmental
- How To Choose Between A Paid Or Free Mold Inspection – Branch Environmental
Blog information is NOT intended to provide or replace medical advice. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.
*We are an Amazon affiliate company and we do occasionally receive compensation for products that you purchase through links on our website.
Suggestions for products to use are just that, suggestions. You know yourself and your home best. Please do your own research on any product you use in your home or on your skin, and learn all the facts for yourself. Thank you.